By Julia Max
The premise of Distortion came to me when I found some old pictures of myself in high school. Throughout high school I had always thought of myself as a slightly overweight, nerdy, ugly duckling, and that image haunted me throughout my years at college and into my adult life. Upon finding these forgotten pictures, I was shocked at how the photograph looked nothing like the image of myself I had in my mind. I then began to question the perceptions I had of myself as well as those I had of others.
I watched in awe as women like Malala Yousafzai and Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz stood up and took a stand for what they believed. When GUESS joined with Peace Over Violence for Denim Day, and Joe Biden started the It’s On Us campaign, I could feel the societal shift beginning. These women and these projects have shown me that we do not need to sit idly by and just accept the world the way it is. If we can open people’s eyes we can start to change society from the inside out. Now is the time for people to start questioning their perceptions of the world, whether it’s body image, racial stereotypes, or the often taboo subject of consent.
Our perceptions of the world can be so deeply ingrained that even when we’re staring the truth in the face we still can’t see it clearly. During my first class at college I remember my teacher casually warning the girls not to walk home alone at night since we’d probably get raped or mugged. According to the rape crisis center this is a typical rape myth and in reality only around 10% of attacks are committed by ‘strangers’. Around 90% of rapes are committed by someone the victim already knows, such as an acquaintance, friend, lover or family member. The perpetrators are often someone who the survivor has previously trusted or even loved. Many of these attacks go unreported because there is still such a stigma attached to being raped. We want to start a healthy dialogue about rape and put to bed some of the inaccurate misconceptions surrounding it. In doing this, we hope to encourage people to speak up when they are attacked, and end the cycle of victim shaming.
I am not a certified counselor and am not qualified to give any medical advice. However, from my own experiences with sexual assault and rape, I can tell you what has worked best for me and what advice I wish someone had given me. I hope you find the information on this site helpful and informative.
Monique Coleman (Woman)
Monique is most recognized as Taylor Mckessie in Disney’s High School Musical franchise. However, she has an enormous passion for helping young people. She holds the title as first ever UN Youth Champion & is the Founder and CEO of GimmeMo, a multi-platform community that amplifies youth voices. Mo works tirelessly to strike a balance between her work on screen & her passion for impacting the world. Her latest projects including appearing as Girl Robin in the highly anticipated film “Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List” alongside Victoria Justice and guest-starring as Solaris on the new ABC Family drama Stitchers. She will also be starring in an upcoming digital series "The Fourth Door".
I'm thrilled to work on "Distortion" because it's an opportunity to use storytelling to raise awareness about an important issue.--which is my favorite thing to do! Acting is my passion, advocacy is my purpose”. ~Monique Coleman
Riley Rose Critchlow (Erica)
Riley has appeared on TNT’s Southland, in the cult comedy John Dies at the End, and in seasons 2 and 3 of Video Game High School. Theatre credits include Brilliant Traces in the Hollywood Fringe Festival, Oedipus Machina at the Odyssey Theatre, and the world premiere of The Girl Who Would Be King, where she was named a Backstage Garland Critic’s Pick for “Best Performance in a Play.” Riley holds a BFA in Acting from USC and is company director of sketch comedy troupe Bowling for Tiffany and half of the comedy duo Mary-Kate and Ashtray.
Kosha Patel (Brittani)
Fresh off the plain, Kosha Patel hails from Colorado. Despite her parents’ warning that Californians are “unstable,” she packed her bags and moved to Los Angeles where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Acting from the University of Southern California. Immediately after graduating, she pursued acting for its perks and made guest star appearances on Criminal Minds, Lie to Me, Grey’s Anatomy, and HBO’s Funny or Die Presents series. She continued training/merrily socializing at Improv schools like The Groundlings and UCB where she discovered her passion for comedy writing. As a writer, she developed a web series with Fremantle Media, and later wrote and produced a Television pilot (starring Richard Karn and Bob Clendenin) with Jaguar attached as a corporate sponsor. Kosha has also tackled the big screen by working as a set PA and intern to producer, Ed Saxon, while shooting films such as Away We Go (Maya Rudolph, John Krasinski) and Our Family Wedding (America Ferrera, Forest Whitaker). She continues to entertain 14-year-old Youtube critics, as well as her mom, by writing and producing digital sketches. When she is not writing or producing, you can catch Kosha recurring on The Newsroom and House of Lies, as well as doing stand up at popular comic joints such as The Laugh Factory, The Improv, and The Comedy Union. And if you still can’t find her … I would try Chipotle.
Trevor Peterson (Kyle)
Trevor most recently finished a role in Sky opposite Diane Kruger, Norman Reedus and Lena Dunham, which premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival this fall. Other credits include -- Television: The Vampire Diaries, CSI:Miami, 10 Dates From Hell (TBS). Film: Manifesto, Prom, Grizzly Park. Theatre credits in Los Angeles include productions at the Ahmanson Theater, Rogue Machine Theater and Bootleg Theater. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a B.F.A. in Acting, as well as the British American Drama Academy in London, England.
Julia Max (Writer/Director)
Julia is an LA native who grew up on film sets. Her last short film The Colonies, which she wrote, directed and starred in, was well received at film festivals and earned her a Best Actress nomination at the California Women’s Film Festival. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Theatre, and studied at Northwestern University’s Cherubs programs. Julia has been passionate about art and storytelling from a young age. She was thrilled to finally showcase her collection of paintings and drawings in the set decorations for Erica’s bedroom.
Ray Zimmerman (Producer)
Ray Zimmerman is a producer and former Sr. VP at Sony / Columbia / TriStar Pictures (1995-2005) where he had direct oversight of the physical production of approx. 100 films such as: Jerry Maguire, Spider-Man 2, Men In Black 2, The Mask of Zorro, The Legend of Zorro, Godzilla, Memoirs of a Geisha, Vertical Limit, Starship Troopers, Hitch, Blue Streak, Pursuit of Happyness, Ali,Bad Boys 2, As Good As It Gets, The Panic Room and many more.
Before and after his Sony career, he was an independent producer on many lower budget movies like Bottle Rocket, Urban Games, Malibu Road, True Crimes, Hong Kong ’97, Heat Seeker and Spitfire.
Bronwyn Cornelius (Executive Producer)
Bronwyn is an award-winning film producer and entertainment consultant whose career experience includes projects with Gracie Films, Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Brothers. Her indie features include SXSW Jury Award-winner Made In China (IFC Films) and the award-winning, LA-based immigrant drama Greencard Warriors (AMC Independent/HBO). Bronwyn recently completed You Were Never Here with Before The Door Pictures (Margin Call, All Is Lost), which stars Mireille Enos, Sam Shepard and Vincent Piazza. Bronwyn is Executive Board Chair Emerita and remains actively involved with GlobalGirl Media, an international girl empowerment organization which develops the voice and self-expression of teenage girls around the world, and is responsible for overseeing their broadband channel GGMN.tv, a partnership with TV4 Entertainment.